The Abbey of Rathmelsigi or of Rath Melsigi,[1] "in the language of the Scots" according to Bede[2] was a prominent abbey in the seventh-century kingdom of Connaught, in Ireland. Rath Melsigi, traditionally identified as Mellifont in County Louth, has not been securely located,[3] in spite of its prominence as a training-ground for figures like Willibrord and Swithbert, who were educated there by the Northumbrian Egbert (639-729), who organised the mission to Frisia. In the controversy over the keeping of Easter, Rath Melsigi accepted the Roman Easter. Others of the English community at Rath Melsigi included Adalbert of Egmond, Botolph and Chad of Mercia. In the plague of 664, Bede tells, the monks of Rathmelsigi were almost all carried off by the disease


  1. Rath is an obsolete Scots name for village, according to Hector McLean, "The Scottish Highland Language and People" The Journal of the Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland 7 (1878:65-81)
  2. Bede, Historia III.27 (On-line text).
  3. D. O. Croinin, "Rath Melsigi, Willibrord, and the earliest Echternach manuscripts," Peritia 3 (1984:17-42) suggests Clonmelsh, County Carlow.

Further reading

  • Adomnan of Iona: Sharpe, Richard, Adomnán of Iona: Life of St. Columba, (London, 1995:349).

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